CATO Podcast

We believe Tactics are a science, and the Art is in how we apply those tactics. Members of the California Association of Tactical Officers (CATO) interview a variety of guests and discuss lessons learned, the evolution of tactics, and other contemporary issues facing law enforcement.

Episode 033 - When Your Training Doesn‘t Prepare You for the Fight

October 15th, 2021

Jeff Felts, from Center Mass, is our guest on the latest episode of the CATO Podcast with Marcus Sprague and Kris Jenny, CATO Training Cadre member. As a young sniper, Jeff found himself well trained, but poorly prepared for a very dynamic hostage situation. This setback sent him on a journey to improve his training and resulted in the formation of Center Mass, the National Patrol Rifle Conference and Championship, and the patrol rifle utilization survey. Each year, participants from around the country compete in a variety of patrol rifle scenarios taken from the streets of America. 

Jeff retired from law enforcement after serving for twenty years as a Police Officer and Sergeant in suburban Metro Detroit. He is also a veteran of the Army, where he was an MP and in the reserves as an Infantry Drill Sergeant. He also served for 12 years in a part-time capacity with the Western Wayne County Special Operations Team as an Operator, Sniper, and Sniper Team Leader. He holds an associate degree in criminal justice, a bachelor's degree in business administration, and is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command. Jeff is a certified special weapons and tactics instructor, tactical rifle instructor, sniper instructor, pistol instructor, and President of Center Mass, Inc., and serves as an Advisory Board Member of the American Sniper Association (ASA).


Links of interest:

CMI website

NPRC main page

Patrol Rifle Utilization Survey

CMI Training info

CMI FB page:

NPRC FB page: 


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Episode 032 - The Body Keeps the Score with Dr. Bessel van der Kolk

October 1st, 2021

We don't often talk about one of the greatest threats facing our profession. This adversary is hard to name, difficult to identify, and is rarely talked about openly, yet each year it kills more and more dedicated men and women in law enforcement and the military. We all agree these professions leave a mark when you're done. For some, this mark can cost them their happiness, family, and even their life. In an effort to find the best information and tools to address this adversary, we reached out to Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a pioneer in the field of PTSD research and treatment, a world-renowned psychiatrist, author, researcher, and educator. He’s been researching post-traumatic stress since the 1970s, its effects on the body, and how a variety of modalities can reduce those impacts. He is the author of the bestselling 'The Body Keeps the Score,' which we highly recommend that everyone read.

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk has dedicated his professional life to helping people heal from their traumas, and when we heard about and expressed interest in a brand new 4-week online course on PTSD launching October 20, 2021, Dr. van der Kolk's team graciously offered a limited-time promo code for a discounted rate to our members. CATO is receiving nothing in return for promoting this class, we are not associated with Dr. Bessel van der Kolk or this course in any way, we simply care about our community and want to pass on all resources that can help our community deal with trauma and PTSD. For more information about this 4-week course, and the promo code which expires October 20th, please go to English 4 Week | Bessel van der Kolk, MD..

Joining me as co-host for this episode is Alex West. Alex served multiple tours during his time in the Navy, and led some of the greatest folks our country has to offer through a variety of hot spots around the world. He has dedicated his post-military life to helping veterans and was CATO's keynote speaker at our last annual training conference in San Diego. He also was our guest in podcast episode #3, which we recommend you check out. Alex is truly committed to the CATO Community and joins us today to help veterans and first responders survive the effects of PTSD during and after their careers.


The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma: van der Kolk M.D., Bessel

Episode 031 - Lessons Learned from the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon

September 17th, 2021

Marcus and Brent sit down with retired Alexandria Virginia Captain Tom Panther. Captain Panther, a former SWAT Operator and Commander, was one of the men charged with coordinating the response to the Pentagon attack on 09/11/01. While we hope to never repeat the experiences of 9/11 and the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, there are a lot of lessons to be learned. Panther shares his story and lessons learned from a law enforcement perspective. While he is retired now, the event had a profound impact on his personal and professional life. It also solidified his commitment to a controlled and disciplined response to catastrophic events by utilizing the ICS process. Panther is currently an adjunct faculty member of the TEEX Enhanced Incident Management/Unified Command for All Hazards course, a no-nonsense course packed with practical exercises to prepare students to manage a variety of complex incidents. For more information on that course go to

Episode 030 - Leadership Lessons with Chief Chris Hsiung

September 3rd, 2021

In this podcast episode, Marcus and Brent sit down with Chief Chris Hsiung to discuss lessons in leadership. Hsiung is the Police Chief of the Mountain View Police Department, located in the heart of Silicon Valley CA, and is an internationally recognized speaker and author on the topics of digital strategy, crisis communications, and leadership. In his time with Mountain View PD, Chief Hsiung has held a variety of investigative, tactical, and leadership roles, serving in every division in the organization. He spent 13 years on the Mountain View PD Regional SWAT Team, serving as an assault member, sniper, rappel master, and tactical commander. Chief Hsiung is a graduate of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Senior Executives in State and Local Government program and has a master’s degree in eBusiness Management from Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, CA. He also serves in several leadership positions on multiple boards, including committee member on the IACP's Professional Standards, Ethics, and Image CommitteeChair of the California Police Chiefs Association Communications Committee, and as a board member on the Global Advisory Council for the Crisis Ready Institute. 

Episode 029 - Drones, Ghosts, and the Edge of Chaos

August 20th, 2021

Marcus and Kris Jenny sit down with Kris Allshouse, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Regional Training Center, to discuss the current state of drones in law enforcement, what future drone technology may look like in the near future, and their must-attend class 'The Edge of Chaos.' Kris also discusses several essential courses available at LARTC.

Kris Allshouse is a retired Detective Supervisor and POST Master Instructor. He has designed and taught over 70 courses for CA Law Enforcement including the POST ICI Officer Involved Shooting, Homicide, Burglary, Vehicle Theft, and Identity Theft Investigative Courses. Kris was an instructor and curriculum writer for the POST ICI Instructor’s Course, the IDI Leadership Mentoring and Coaching Course, the IDI Advanced Instructor Course, and the Master Instructor Certification Course. His tactical background as a SWAT operator, medic, and waterborne team member culminated in his working as an anti-terrorism consultant and a tactical drone instructor for agencies across the United States.

Kristofer Jenny is a Sergeant at a Northern California police agency and is part of the CATO Team Leader Teaching Cadre. He is a CATO SLP 2 graduate and was instrumental in creating CATO's Critical Incident Management for Supervisors course.

Episode 028 - AB 392 and its Effect on Hostage Events

August 6th, 2021

Marcus sits down with Matt Alexander, Kris Jenny, and Travis Norton to discuss the effects of California AB3 92 on managing hostage rescue operations, as well as its impact on the priority of life and things you should consider in training, deploying, and documenting uses of force. 

Matt Alexander is a Lieutenant at a Central California agency. He is a CATO Instructor for the SWAT Team Leader and SWAT Commander courses, a CATO Regional Training Rep, and he also teaches for his own company, Advanced Combat Evolutions. Travis Norton is a Lieutenant in a Southern California agency. He is a CATO SLP 1 (Strategic Leadership Program) graduate, leads the CATO After Action Team, and teaches a variety of classes for the NTOA. Kristofer Jenny is a Sergeant at a Northern California police agency and is part of the CATO Team Leader Teaching Cadre. He is a CATO SLP 2 graduate and was instrumental in creating CATO's Critical Incident Management for Supervisors course.



Does This New Legislation Affect the Decision to Shoot a Hostage Taker?

by Travis Norton

Episode 027-Command and Control Part 2 (Practical Application)

July 9th, 2021

Marcus continues the conversation about Command and Control with Travis Norton and Kris Jenny. They discuss practical action items you can do now to reduce the friction inherent at all levels during tactical operations. Travis Norton is a Lieutenant in a Southern California agency. He is a CATO SLP 1 (Strategic Leadership Program) graduate, leads the CATO After Action Team, and teaches a variety of classes for the NTOA.  Kristofer Jenny is a Sergeant at a Northern California police agency and is part of the CATO Team Leader Teaching Cadre. He is a CATO SLP 2 graduate and was instrumental in creating CATO's Critical Incident Management for Supervisors course.

Episode 026 - Command and Control

June 25th, 2021

Marcus and Brent sit down with Ted King to discuss balancing command and control with independent decision-making through a variety of perspectives. Ted is a Lieutenant with the Bakersfield Police Department and a co-founder and managing member of Alpha Safety Solutions, a company that works with organizations and safety professionals to develop comprehensive emergency management plans based on FEMA recommendations. Ted has over 20 years of combined military and law enforcement experience, including SWAT, complex investigations, counter-terrorism, physical security, and vulnerability assessments. He earned a master's degree in emergency management and is a terrorism liaison officer program coordinator for a large municipal police department. Ted has also been a valued member of CATO for many years and graduated from CATO's Strategic Leadership Program.

Episode 025 - Workers Comp Injuries- What You Don’t Know Can Cost You Your Career

June 4th, 2021

Marcus Sprague discusses workers' compensation issues with Nick Hitch and Laura Rosenthal. They detail what you can do before, during, and after a work-related injury. Nick is a medically retired police officer from Northern California who was forced to retire after his injury was mismanaged by his agency, their insurance provider, and some of the medical folks charged with his care. Laura is a workers compensation attorney who represents first responders to ensure they get the best treatment possible, and if they can't return to work they are treated fairly by their agency and the insurer.  

Episode 024 - Strategies for Managing Demonstration Response

May 21st, 2021

Kris Jenny and Marcus Sprague sit down with Andrew, who works for a large Southern California law enforcement agency and has managed a variety of First Amendment activities. Andrew recently taught a Demonstration Response Class for CATO and we thought it would be a good time to sit down and discuss some of the key components in analyzing and developing a response to demonstrations, protests, and riots.

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